Matthew Fleming wants to provide insight on the college experience—he researches how to better understand the realities of disadvantaged students and what strategies can improve academic performance and retention.
“Through research, I have examined important topics such as the ‘toolbox of strategies’ that allows disadvantaged college students to ultimately complete their degrees,” said Fleming, who is working with Professor Pamela Aronson on this research project. “This work makes a unique and original contribution to the body of knowledge regarding students' experience of college.”
Through this work, Fleming and Aronson have written journal articles and presented at conferences.
Their most current work, “The Factors that Enable Disadvantaged Students to Complete College,” will be presented at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Southern Sociological Society in New Orleans and the XIX International Sociological Association World Congress in Toronto.
“This article delves into the many strategies used by college graduates, many of whom were disadvantaged, on their routes to degree completion,” he said.
Fleming also has been awarded an undergraduate research fellowship by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, which allows Fleming and Aronson to conduct research and eventually publish a journal article on the role of confidence among college students.
“Both projects are at the forefront of sociology research, as they examine the successes and struggles of disadvantaged college students,” Aronson said. “Even more important, this engaged research will make it possible to positively impact our students’ lives.”
As a campus student mentor, Fleming has assisted in the creation of two new online courses, SOC 445:The Family and SOC 200:Understanding Society. He created and/or organized the class modules, discussions, quizzes/tests, and even created a lecture titled, "How to be successful in this class."
When he is not on campus, Fleming works at Bodman law firm. He said the experiences on campus and in the professional world have helped prepare him for a future career in law.
“I hope to continue conducting research and then publishing or presenting my findings on projects that have an impact in the larger community,” he said. “Through my academic courses on campus and my continued work at Bodman, I have furthered my interest in and enhanced my understanding of the field of law.”